We were recently asked by the folks over at Paperless Post to chime in with our opinion on creating the perfect save the date photo.  If you haven’t heard of Paperless Post before, they are a great solution for sending out just about any kind of card, including wedding invitations and save the dates.  (I, Shem, used one of their online options for my own wedding save the dates and it worked like a dream!)  Whether you choose an online card or go with the more traditional paper option, you’re sure to find yourself wondering: how do I create the perfect photo for my save the date card??  This is such a great topic, and we wanted to share a few ideas and tips with all our readers!

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So you’re engaged, you’ve set your wedding date and chosen your venue, and now it’s time to start letting all your guests know when they should expect to attend your big celebration!  We have a few ideas to get your creativity flowing and your guests marking their calendars!

First Things First: Choose Your Photographer!

While it may be tempting to choose your photographer based purely on budget, or because your cousin used so-and-so for her wedding, it’s so important to find an engagement photographer (who will also most likely be your wedding photographer) whose work reflects your style as a couple.  Find someone you can relate to, laugh with, and be yourselves in front of.  This is KEY.  If you can’t be yourselves, it will show in your photographs!

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Choose Your Location

It’s true what they say….location, location, location!  You might want a simple closeup of the two of you, but what if you wanted to show more of your surroundings?  This important decision can make or break your photos!  Here are a few ideas for where you could go for photos:

Show Off Your Venue

Are you getting married in a gorgeous old hotel or iconic historic building?  Why not incorporate your wedding location into your save the dates to give your guests a little preview of what they can expect!

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 Incorporate Your Hobbies

What are you known for as a couple?  Do your friends know you as the couple that tries new recipes and loves to cook together, that enters every triathlon, that wouldn’t miss a Saturday at the farmer’s market, that rides their scooters around town, that loves to try new wines whenever possible or that has been bitten by the travel bug?  While you might not want a literal depiction of your hobby on your save the date, a nod to your interests is a fun way to show your personalities to your friends and family!

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 Celebrate Your City

Whether you grew up there or you’re a transplant, the city you call home with your sweetheart holds a special place in your hearts because it’s part of who you are as a couple!  Staging your photos around a local icon or recognizable feature is a great idea, especially when a lot of your guests might be coming in from out of town.  It’s a fun way to say, “This is our home and we can’t wait to welcome you!”

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 Head For The Country (Or Your Nearest Park)

There’s nothing quite like the peace and solitude of an unspoiled natural setting.  Trees and landscapes make great backdrops for photos, and when the light is juuuust right, it can be truly magical!  If you’re a couple that loves the outdoors and wants to keep it simple, you’ll find that even near a big city there can be pockets of nature that will inspire the romantic in you!  Here in Florida we have plenty of beaches and gorgeous trees…but if we had mountains, I’d definitely be heading that way, too!

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A word of caution: it’s easy to go Pinterest-crazy, jumping from idea to adorable idea and wanting to do it all!  But really…if you’ve never been in a rowboat, don’t spend time together on the water, and in fact you hate being out on the water, then it makes no sense to plan a rowboat engagement shoot.  Just sayin’.  ;)  But if you love cooking together, or riding bikes, or spending time outdoors…whatever your thing is….embrace it!!   The most important thing is to make sure your surroundings make sense for you as a couple!

Props

There are so many fun ways to announce your wedding, it can be overwhelming to try and pick your favorite!  Signs and props are a cute way to get your message across, but try to keep it simple.  Too many words on a sign, small or elaborate lettering or too many props can backfire.  (Who’s going to carry those 50 balloons, 100 sparklers, picnic blanket, and giant foam finger across the city park and hold them while you’re trying to reapply your lipstick?)  :P

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Pets

If you and your sweetheart have a furry kid that means just as much in your relationship as you do to each other, then you might want to consider bringing your pet along for a few photos, too!  More and more couples are bringing their pets along to their engagement sessions, which we think is super fun!  (You’ll just want to make sure you have an extra pair of helping hands to take your pup home once their part of the shoot is done.)

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Choose Your Clothing

First and foremost, wear something that you’re comfortable in and is YOU!  Don’t buy an entirely new outfit the night before you take your photos, unless you have a backup option.  Wear something you feel good in and compliments your features.  We never…ever….think it looks good to wear the exact same thing.  You and your partner most likely don’t go through life wearing identical clothing, so why would you want to do that in photos?  Wear color coordinated clothing in a similar style: formal wear with formal, casual with casual, etc.  Don’t be afraid of layers, colors and accessories!

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Be Daring

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your save the date photo!  It doesn’t have to be a picture of the two of you looking right at the camera.  Run down the beach, jump in the lake, look for a unique angle or something interesting going on around you.  The possibilities are endless!

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Choose Your Design

Depending on the design you choose, you might need to make sure you have plenty of negative space in your image.  (In art terms, negative space is the empty or open space around an object.)  If you wanted to place your text and image all on one side of the card, you’ll need negative space over which you’ll place your text.  That way nothing will be covering your faces!  When you take your photos, be sure to get a good mix of nice, closeup shots and wide open shots that leave space for your design elements.  Covering your bases and getting a wide variety of shots during your engagement session means less stress later when you’re picking out your favorites for your save the date cards.

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Relax, Have Fun & Don’t Stress It

In the end, the most important thing is the two of you and your love for each other!  Don’t stress about your photos…just relax, have a blast, cuddle, kiss & remember why you’re taking these photos in the first place!  If you’re having a good time, it will show in your photos.  Your guests will love any photo you choose to send them, so pick the one that makes you smile every time you see it.  We guarantee it will make them smile, too!

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It might be April 1st, but no joke…Dana & Tyler’s wedding just a couple weeks ago was amazing!!  Congratulations, Mr & Mrs Bannon!!  We are so excited to share more from your wedding day soon, but for now enjoy this little sneak peek!  There’s much more to come!  :)

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Since they had booked their wedding online after phone conversations, we met Jenny and John for the first time in person at their engagement session at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales.  (Well, first we passed each other at the garden’s visitor’s center not knowing who each other was, but then we found each other about 20 min later for proper introductions and all was good!)  What struck us the most about this super awesome couple was their laughter!  Their smiles didn’t fade once during their whole session…..their happiness was contagious!  It’s so apparent that they love spending time with each other and they make each other SO happy.  :)  Seriously, how cute is Jenny!?  I love her laugh!  And the way John looks at Jenny is so loving and sweet, it’s no wonder he stole her heart!

We started off in the orange grove at Pinewood Estate and then made our way to a gorgeous field with an amazing sunset view, Bok Tower in the background.  What a perfect way to end our photo shoot!  We can’t wait to return there to make more memories with Jenny and John on their wedding day this October.  Congratulations, you guys!!

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Cute wooden sign with wedding date and hearts, from Etsy Bok Tower engagement session in the orange grove at Pinewood Estate Pinewood Estate engagement session in the orange grove at Bok Tower Gardens Pinewood Estate engagement session at Bok Tower Gardens by Blue Lane Studios Pinewood Estate engagement session Wooden wedding date sign from Etsy, engagement photos at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales by Blue Lane Studios Engagement photo shoot at Bok Tower Gardens, Pinewood Estate engagement session Engagement photos in orange grove at Pinewood Estate at Bok Tower Gardens Cute engagement session at Bok Tower Gardens Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0011 Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0012 Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0013 Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0014 Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0015 Super cute engagement session at Bok Tower Gardens, jeans and blue sweater and brown boots engagement outfits.  Pinewood Estate engagement photo shoot at Bok Tower Gardens by Blue Lane Studios.  Engagement photo shoot at Pinewood Estate in Lake Wales Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0019 Bok Tower engagement photography at Pinewood Estate Pinewood Estate engagement photo shoot, Bok Tower wedding photographer, Lake Wales wedding photographer, Central Florida wedding photographer Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0022 Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0023 Gorgeous afternoon light at Pinewood Estate during Jenny and John's engagement session.  Bok Tower Gardens engagement photo shoot Romantic Bok Tower engagement session Pinewood estate photo shoot, engagement photos by Blue Lane Studios Bok Tower Gardens property at sunset Grassy field engagement session at Bok Tower Gardens near sunset Sitting in a grassy field at Bok Tower Gardens near sunset, engagement session in Lake Wales, Florida Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0030 Bok Tower sunset engagement session, photo shoot in Lake Wales by Blue Lane Studios, Florida wedding photographers Walking at sunset at Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales engagement photos Gorgeous sunset at Bok Tower in Lake Wales Bok Tower sunset silhouette engagement session Gorgeous sunset at Bok Tower Gardens, engagement session in Lake Wales Bok-Tower-Engagement-Photography_0036 Engagement session in a grassy field in Lake Wales, central Florida Sunset engagement session with Blue Lane Studios Bride and groom engagement portraits Sunset silhouette by Tampa wedding photographers Blue Lane StudiosSunset engagement session at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida, by Blue Lane Studios. Night off camera flash engagement portraits.

I’m still in awe of how stunning Amira is…what a gorgeous bride!  I’m so happy for her and Danny, and we are so excited to share this tiny glimpse of their beautiful wedding day!

Gorgeous portrait of a bride with the glow of window light. Photo by Blue Lane Studios in Tampa Florida

Bride and groom's portrait at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida.

In honor of Jen and Brian’s big day coming up this Saturday (CONGRATS, YOU TWO!!!) we wanted to show off how completely adorable they are together and share some images from their engagement session earlier this year!   Seriously….how cute are they!?  We wish we looked this great paddle boarding!!  ;)

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Red dress with plaid shirt engagement session in Tampa Florida

Fun and colorful engagement session wearing red dress and plaid shirt, Davis Island engagement session

Mint green and yellow bicycle engagement session by Blue Lane Studios in Tampa, Florida

Tampa skyline engagement session, mint green and yellow bicycle

Bicycle engagement photo shoot in Tampa, FL by Blue Lane Studios

Mint green blue and yellow bicycle engagement session, brown boots and turquoise dress

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Paddle boarding engagement photo shoot on Davis Islands, Tampa skyline at sunset paddleboarding

SUP engagement session, stand up paddle board photo shoot in Tampa by Blue Lane Studios

Engagement photo shoot stand up paddle boarding at sunset on Davis Island by Blue Lane Studios in Tampa Florida

Adventure engagement session in Tampa, adventurous couple loves to paddle board and decided to SUP for their engagement session

Tampa engagement photography stand up paddle boarding on Davis Island by Blue Lane Studios

Romantic beach engagement session by Blue Lane Studios in Tampa, Florida

Blue and green beach engagement session by Blue Lane Studios in Tampa, Florida

Sunset engagement photos by Blue Lane Studios in Tampa Florida on Davis Island

 

Two Don Cesar sneak peeks in one day!  We are shooting some great weddings at the Don this fall so expect a whole bunch more!  Tiffany and Kevin were married earlier this month and I am so excited to share a sneak of their day!  More coming soon!

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Another gorgeous Don Cesar wedding!  We just love this venue.  We can’t wait to share more from Nicole and JR’s day!

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Don Cesar Beach Wedding Don Cesar Beach Wedding, Grand Ballroom, Carter Florist

We’ve already posted their Oxford Exchange wedding photos, but we wanted to share a few from Dana and Nat’s engagement session, as well!  These two were just meant to be.  A local matchmaking service brought them together, but their deep love of learning mixed with their self-proclaimed nerdiness and a huge helping of respect and love for each other is what has kept them together.  Watching Nat’s face light up when he’s around Dana is heartwarming to see, and the way these two have fun with each other brings a smile to my face!  They chose downtown Tampa by the Hillsborough River for their engagement session, and we spent an easy evening together capturing some pretty sweet moments.  Enjoy!

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Downtown Tampa engagement session, black and white photo in front of the Straz Center

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Hillsborough River engagement session in downtown Tampa

Engagement session at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa

Curtis Hixon Park engagement session in downtown Tampa by Blue Lane Studios

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Walking along the Hillsborough River at sunset for an engagement session in Tampa

Just a little sneak peek for Kelly & Neill!  Their wedding at the Sandpearl Resort was full of laughter, joy, sweet moments and….rain!  (But more about that later!)  We also had plenty of beautiful Florida sunshine…yay!  Congratulations, you two, I’m sooo happy to have been a part of your amazing wedding day!

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I had such a lovely time at Dana and Nat’s Oxford Exchange wedding last month!  Their literary themed wedding was one for the books (haha!) and totally fit their personalities.  I kind of feel like the Oxford Exchange can draw out that excitement in adults that kids feel when walking into the Magic Kingdom (although don’t get me wrong…Disney World is magical at any age!)  With the pretty, colorfully-bound books, knick knacks and curiosities peeking out from every corner, textures and colors colliding and then somehow making perfect sense, and then the smells….ahhh….the delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee winds its way around you and you have truly found a place you could live in forever!  This is the magical place that Dana and Nat knew would be perfect for saying their vows .  Surrounded by the books they love and the people they love more, their ceremony was truly unique and beautiful.   Congratulations, Dana & Nat!!  Wishing you a lifetime of laughter, learning and love!

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Oxford Exchange wedding

Oxford Exchange book room where wedding took place

Flowers by La Vie en Rose for a wedding at the Oxford Exchange, dress by Demetrios

Bride getting ready for her wedding at the Tampa Waterside Marriott, hair and makeup by Michele Renee Studios

Bride getting ready at the Tampa Waterside Marriott for her wedding at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, photography by Blue Lane Studios

Groom getting dressed for wedding at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Tampa wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

Groom's portraits before wedding at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Tampa wedding photographer

Bride and Groom first look at the Oxford Exchange, Tampa wedding photography Blue Lane Studios

Bridal portraits at the Oxford Exchange, wedding photography in Tampa by Blue Lane Studios

Bride and groom exchange gifts before their wedding ceremony at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa

Bridal portraits at Oxford Exchange by Blue Lane Studios

Bridal portraits in natural light at Oxford Exchange in Tampa Florida, wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios, Tampa wedding photographers

Groom's portraits at Oxford Exchange in downtown Tampa, window light portraits by Blue Lane Studios

Bouquet and boutonniere by La Vie en Rose in Tampa, Florida, wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

Oxford Exchange book room wedding ceremony

Wedding ceremony in the book room at Oxford Exchange, photography by Blue Lane Studios in Tampa, FL

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Groomsmen and bridesmaids bridal party photos at Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida. Wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

Gorgeous bridesmaids portraits at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, FL.  Purple bridesmaids dresses and purple bouquets by La Vie en Rose floral design, wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

Groomsmen in the book room at Oxford Exchange, Tampa wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

Cute bridal party photo, bridal party reading books at Oxford Exchange in the book room, photography by Blue Lane Studios, Tampa wedding photography

Bride and groom's portraits at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida by Blue Lane Studios

Closeup bride and groom portraits at the Oxford Exchange, Tampa wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

Sitting on chairs upstairs at the Oxford Exchange, bride and groom portraits by Blue Lane Studios, Tampa wedding photographers

Gorgeous reception details at the Oxford Exchange, purple table runners and napkins, amazing florals by La Vie en Rose in Tampa, photography by Blue Lane Studios

Gorgeous reception details at the Oxford Exchange, purple table runners and napkins, amazing florals by La Vie en Rose in Tampa, photography by Blue Lane Studios

Purple and wine reception decor at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Tampa wedding photographers Blue Lane Studios

Bride and groom make their reception entrance at the Oxford Exchange, Tampa wedding photographers Blue Lane Studios, videography by Hearts Video

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Gorgeous reception details at night, candlelight glowing for Oxford Exchange wedding, purple and wine color details and flowers by La Vie en Rose, tampa wedding photographers Blue Lane Studios

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Unique book cake at Oxford Exchange for a literary themed wedding, Tampa wedding photographers Blue Lane Studios

Cutting the cake at a literary themed Oxford Exchange wedding in Tampa Florida

Oxford Exchange wedding reception dancing, live music performed by Jonathan Cortez, wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

Bride and groom kiss in yellow chairs at Oxford Exchange, photography by Blue Lane Studios

Closeup of wedding rings on a typewriter at Oxford Exchange in Tampa Florida, wedding photography by Blue Lane Studios

 

Getting Ready Venue: Tampa Marriott Waterside

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Oxford Exchange

Dress: Demetrios

Makeup: Michele Renee

Hair Styling: Erica Rojas

Flowers: La Vie en Rose

Catering: Oxford Exchange

DJ: Jonathan Cortez

Awesome 2nd Photographer: Tina Sargeant